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5 Humboldt County Beaches You Must Visit


Humboldt County has some spectacular beaches and some of the best California has to offer.  Rugged coastlines mixed with clean sand and adventurous attitudes make our beaches a draw for people from all around the world.  With over one-hundred miles of beautiful coastline, locals are lucky to have so many incredible beaches to choose from.  We've put together a list, in no particular order, of 5 Humboldt Beaches that are absolutely worth a visit.  

For more information about these and other Humboldt beaches, click the link --->  Humboldt County Beaches.

Photo Above: Moonstone Beach 

Moonstone Beach is our bonus sixth pick because it's amazing!  A great spot for surfing, picnics, photography and walks with the dog(s), this gorgeous beach sits along Scenic Drive in Trinidad and is one of a string of beautiful beaches in the area.   

Black Sands Beach, Shelter Cove

Located less than an hour west of Garberville and Highway 101, Black Sands Beach stretches along the beautiful Lost Coast, just north of Shelter Cove.  If you're looking for remote, rugged beauty in Northern California, this beach is for you.  

The beach is actually made up of tectonic plate pieces that have been broken down over time by the ocean waves so what you get are small, rounded rocks and pebbles.  The beach is a very comfortable place to play but if you plan on doing any significant walking along the coast (highly recommended), consider bringing some good sandals or shoes.   

Black Sands Beach is also an incredible place to enjoy a picnic, relax and catch a sunset in a part of California many don't get to see.  The area is a prime place to spot whales from April-June and September-December each year and is the southern trailhead for the Lost Coast Trail.   Binoculars, a camera, warm clothing and a sense of adventure will make your visit more enjoyable.  Head north and get lost walking along this magical piece of coastline or stay on the south side of town and enjoy exploring tidepools at Mal Coombs Park and viewing the variety of wildlife that live and play in the area.

As with any visit to a North Coast Beach, keep an eye on the tides.  You don't want to swim here and should be very aware of riptides and rogue waves.

More info -->  Black Sands Beach

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Trinidad State Beach, Trinidad

Trinidad State Beach is absolutely phenomenal and is the heartbeat of an area that is packed with gorgeous beaches, trails, surfing hotspots, a stunning pier and other activities.  Next to the beach is Trinidad Head, a giant rock with walking trails and unbelievable views of the the coastline to both the north and south, the pier and into the horizon.

Trinidad State Beach has soft sand and plenty of room to picnic, fly a kite, explore or just relax.  Sometimes you'll even see surfers or people on stand-up paddle boards exploring the coastline or people fishing from kayaks.  The cool rock formations that line the coast, including Pewetole Island, give this dog-friendly beach a unique, multi-dimensional look that also makes for great photographs. 

If you're in the mood to beach-hop, check out College Cove, Luffenholtz Beach, Moonstone Beach and pretty much any other beach you pass while on the way to any of those.  There are no bad stops in Trinidad. 

More info -->  Trinidad State Beach 

Centerville Beach, Ferndale

Located about five miles west of Victorian Ferndale, Centerville Beach and its ever-evolving sandy bluffs and shoreline give returning visitors a unique opportunity to see how the tides and winds can shape and reshape a Northern California beach.   

If you like exploring, the beach offers visitors two unique environments depending on which way you head from the parking lot.  Move south and enjoy tall, sandy bluffs on your left and waves crashing at your feet to your right.  The walls of the bluffs look like at artist's canvas that has been used repeatedly to create different designs.  It's quite mesmerizing.  North of the parking area, wildlife is abundant in the Eel River Wildlife Unit which will be immediately to your right as you walk and the views overlooking the valley looking to the east are quite beautiful.  The sounds of the ocean makes it a very peaceful trek.

Bring the dogs and enjoy a fire as they're both permitted.  Camping is not permitted but you can find information about local places to pitch a tent by visiting our Humboldt Camping Section.  There are no trash cans or facilities but it's a fantastic beach to have a picnic.  Please plan accordingly to ensure all of your trash leaves the beach with you.   

Note:  You'll see a large cross along the road just past beach parking.  The cross is there to honor the lives of 38 people who perished in the wreck of the SS Northerner in 1860.  The Cross is National Historic Landmark number #173.  You can read more about it HERE.

More info -->  Centerville Beach 

Punta Gorda Recreation Area, Petrolia

Resting along Humboldt County's gorgeous Lost Coast is the Punta Gorda Recreation Area which also serves as the northern trailhead for the Lost Coast Trail and the starting point for the popular Punta Gorda Lighthouse Hike.  

The Recreation Area is mostly known for its access to incredible coastal hiking, and we highly recommend doing some when you visit, but it's also a great place to relax and enjoy some food, do some beachcombing, fish and explore.  Sea life is usually easy to spot out in the water and whale watching opportunities are abound from April-June and October - December.   

It can easily take more than a day to explore the area and fortunately, the Mattole Campground is also located here, is self-pay and only $8 a night.  

More info -->  Punta Gorda Recreation Area 

Samoa Dunes Recreation Area

This 300-acre park located on the Samoa Peninsula  is pretty incredible and the range of activities you'll find here are diverse and include; beachcombing, fishing, surfing, exercising, bird watching, ohv use, photography and just relaxing.  Bring your best friend(s) as dogs are permitted and will have a great time here as well.   

One of the unique aspects of this park is that visitors are treated to three different types of environments; Humboldt Bay, the Pacific Ocean and the channel that runs between them.  Making a half-circle walk along the peninsula, you can enjoy each while listening to the water splashing against the rocks as wildlife plays around you.  The fantastic dunes only add to the beauty of the park and give it another reason to make our list. 

More info -->  Samoa Dunes Recreation Area 

 Thanks for reading.  What Humboldt County Beach do you like to visit the most?  Let us know if the comments. 

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Written by CK for

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